An upgraded digital reconnaissance pod payload, denoted as “Full-Capability” (F-CAP), has been developed and demonstrated as part of the F-14 TARPS-CD (Tactical Air Reconnaissance Pod -- Completely Digital) effort. A key improvement is the incorporation of the NRL-developed ARIES (Airborne Real-time Image Exploitation System) circuit card into the Reconnaissance Management System for in-cockpit display, processing, and geo-location of imagery from the TARPS-CD digital framing camera system. A special cockpit control panel allows the aircrew to quickly manipulate the video images (e.g., pan, zoom and roam), and create an image segment. The annotated image segment can then be relayed via the F-14 Fast Tactical Imagery (FTI) link to the carrier or to a strike aircraft for target prosecution. A solid-state recorder allows near-instantaneous retrieval of full-resolution imagery recorded earlier, for use by the ARIES card or for transmittal to the ground/carrier via the 274-Mbps CDL link. The F-CAP pod is being evaluated in operational exercises by F-14 squadron VF-32 aboard the carrier USS Harry S Truman.
New generation of tactical reconnaissance pod for high performance aircraft. The pod contains a high resolution multi-spectral sensor suite for day/night missions, digital solid state recorder and optional data link. The modular structure of the pod is based on the Litening targeting pod and uses the same interface to the aircraft, saving cost for new system integration and certification. The RecceLite pod has been integrated to the Spanish Airforce EF-18 aircraft and flight tested to verify interfaces and performance in a real military operational environment. First results have been flown with an infrared sensor only and final test with the final configuration of sensors and image processing electronics.
The Goodrich DB-110 system is discussed in terms of its basic design and concept. An operational platform utilizing the DB-110 system known as the Reconnaissance Airborne Pod for the TORnado (RAPTOR) aircraft is overviewed describing the complete automatic turnkey operation of the system. Dual-band imagery from RAPTOR displays DB-110's imaging capability for long, medium, and short standoff range as well as over-flight mission performance. Additionally, enhancing the resolution and other multi-spectral and Hyper-spectral formats of the DB-110 system are introduced as evidence of future products based on the present DB-110 system.
The podded reconnaissance system has evolved significantly to keep pace with modern battlefield requirements. Through the use of new technologies; greater flexibility can be achieved in deployment options and response times in the intelligence reporting cycle can be reduced. The podded reconnaissance system architecture has evolved to a system of systems where both the manned and unmanned aerial reconnaissance systems can make use of the same fundamental building blocks.
ISTAR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance) is defined as the coordinated acquisition, processing, and dissemination of timely, accurate, relevant and assured information and intelligence which supports the planning and conduct of operations, targeting and the integration of effects. Its main function thus is to come in support of the commander of the operations in its decision-taking.
This paper originally examined the process underlying a targeting/weapons delivery system, focusing on the potential failure modes. It then looked at an alternate structure for the weapons delivery loop. It is now pretty well recognized that the old stovepiped system of handling data will not support targeting mobile and fleeting targets. The new buzz words are "Sensor-to-Shooter" or "Flash2Bang" cycle but they are acknowledgements that the old way isn't going to work. Most of the changes required in the information side of the picture are being worked and this paper will focus on the armed UAV that I believe is the missing "Point of the Spear."
Change detection and motion detection is theoretically possible using image fusion--imagery of a common area from multiple sensor platforms. However perspective differences represent a significant obstacle both to human and machine correlation, particularly in the case of side oblique imagery. Orthorectification provides a common perspective and thus a practical first step for follow-on correlation algorithms.
Solid state recorders have become the recorder of choice for meeting airborne ruggedized requirements for reconnaissance and flight test. The cost of solid state recorders have decreased over the past few years that they are now less expense than the traditional high speed tape recorders. CALCULEX, Inc manufactures solid state recorders called MONSSTR (Modular Non-volatile Solid State Recorder). MONSSTR is being used on many different platforms such as F/A-22, Global Hawk, F-14, F-15, F-16, U-2, RF-4, and Tornado. This paper will discuss the advantages of using solid state recorders to meet the airborne reconnaissance requirement and the ability to record instrumentation data. The CALCULEX recorder has the ability to record sensor data and flight test data in the same chassis. This is an important feature because it eliminates additional boxes on the aircraft. The major advantages to using a solid state recorder include; reliability, small size, light weight, and power. Solid state recorders also have a larger storage capacity and higher bandwidth capability than other recording devices.
BAE SYSTEMS has reported on a new framing camera incorporating an ultra high resolution CCD detector array comprised of 9,216 x 9,216 pixels fabricated on one silicon wafer. The detector array features a 1:2 frame-per-second readout capable of stereo imagery with Nyquist resolution of 57 lp/mm from high velocity, low altitude (V/H) airborne platforms. Flight tests demonstrated the capability of the focal plane electronics for differential image motion compensation (IMC) with Nyquist performance utilizing a focal plane shutter (FPS) to enable both nadir and significant side and forward oblique imaging angles. The impact of FPS for differential image motion compensation is evaluated with the exterior orientation calibration parameters, which include the existing shutter velocity and flight dynamics from sample mapping applications. System requirements for GPS/INS are included with the effect of vertical error and side oblique angle impact of the digital elevation map (DEM) required to create the orthophoto. Results from the differentiated "collinearity equations" which relate the image coordinates to elements of interior and exterior orientation are combined with the DEM impact to provide useful guidelines for side oblique applications. The application of real-time orthophotography is described with the implications for system requirements for side oblique orthophoto capability.
Natural resource management agencies continue to be one of the heavy users of remote sensing data. From the earliest days of aerial photography, managers have depended upon broad area coverage in various levels of resolution for information needed to conserve and preserve the Earth's resource base. The USDA Forest Service is one agency that has been an active user of remote sensing data since the days when foresters began using aerial photographs to analyze timber crops. To this day, the use of data acquired by aerial reconnaissance is an important part of the tools used to gather information. Last year, in April of 2002, the Forest Service, Remote Sensing Applications Cener with headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah, sponsored The Ninth Biennial Remote Sensing Applications Conference in San Diego, California. Presentations at that conference demonstrate that airborne reconnaissance techniques continue to be of importance to managers of our natural resources. This paper is an overview of papers presented at the conference with emphasis upon applications that either use or have the potential to use airborne reconnaissance in data collection. Primary areas of interest include data collection for natural resource management and for law enforcement purposes on public lands an other remote, inaccessible back country areas.
With the on coming delivery of the French Recce NG system to the French Air Force and the French Navy, the French Forces will acquire soon a full IMINT system, and a main brick in the C4ISR loop. Furthermore, the technical choices of a full digital imagery chain from sensor to image dissemination via on board recording and transmission, allow Real Time (RT) or near real Time (NRT) exploitation and induce large savings in time within the short tactical loop from Sensor to Shooter.
Many airborne platforms have high performance electro optical sensor suites mounted on them. Such sensor systems can provide vital, real time reconnaissance information to users on the platform or on the ground. However such sensor systems require control and output large amounts of data of which the user may require only a relatively small amount for his decision processes. This paper describes a payload management system, designed to automatically control an airborne sensor suite to improve the 'quality' of the data provided to the user and other systems on the airborne platform. The system uses real time image-processing algorithms to provide low-level functions e.g. closed loop target tracking, image stabilization, automatic focus control and super-resolution. The system combines such real time outputs and incorporates contextual data inputs to provide higher-level surveillance functions such as recognition and ranging of navigational waypoints for geo-location; registration of image patches for large area terrain imaging. The paper outlines the physical and processing architecture of the system and also gives an overview of the algorithms and capabilities of the system. The issues surrounding the integration into existing airborne platforms are discussed.
Modern high-performance Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) systems have evolved into highly versatile, robust, and reliable tactical sensors, offering images and information not available from other sensor systems. For example, real-time images are routinely formed by the Sandia-designed General Atomics (AN/APY-8) Lynx SAR yielding 4-inch resolution at 25 km range (representing better than arc-second resolutions) in clouds, smoke, and rain. Sandia's Real-Time Visualization (RTV) program operates an Interferometric SAR (IFSAR) system that forms three-dimensional (3D) topographic maps in near real-time with National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) Digital Terrain Elevation Data (DTED) level 4 performance (3 meter post spacing with 0.8-meter height accuracy) or better. When exported to 3-D rendering software, this data allows remarkable interactive fly-through experiences. Coherent Change Detection (CCD) allows detecting tire tracks on dirt roads, foot-prints, and other minor, otherwise indiscernible ground disturbances long after their originators have left the scene. Ground Moving Target Indicator (GMTI) radar modes allow detecting and tracking moving vehicles. A Sandia program known as "MiniSAR" is developing technologies that are expected to culminate in a fully functioning, high-performance, real-time SAR that weighs less than 20 lbs. The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of recent technology developments, as well as current on-going research and development efforts at Sandia National Laboratories.
Proc. SPIE 5109, SHARP's systems engineering challenge: rectifying integrated product team requirements with performance issues in an evolutionary spiral development acquisition, 0000 (8 August 2003); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.488668
Completing its final development and early deployment on the Navy's multi-role aircraft, the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet, the SHAred Reconnaissance Pod (SHARP) provides the war fighter with the latest digital tactical reconnaissance (TAC Recce) Electro-Optical/Infrared (EO/IR) sensor system. The SHARP program is an evolutionary acquisition that used a spiral development process across a prototype development phase tightly coupled into overlapping Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) and Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) phases. Under a tight budget environment with a highly compressed schedule, SHARP challenged traditional acquisition strategies and systems engineering (SE) processes. Adopting tailored state-of-the-art systems engineering process models allowd the SHARP program to overcome the technical knowledge transition challenges imposed by a compressed program schedule. The program's original goal was the deployment of digital TAC Recce mission capabilities to the fleet customer by summer of 2003. Hardware and software integration technical challenges resulted from requirements definition and analysis activities performed across a government-industry led Integrated Product Team (IPT) involving Navy engineering and test sites, Boeing, and RTSC-EPS (with its subcontracted hardware and government furnished equipment vendors). Requirements development from a bottoms-up approach was adopted using an electronic requirements capture environment to clarify and establish the SHARP EMD product baseline specifications as relevant technical data became available. Applying Earned-Value Management (EVM) against an Integrated Master Schedule (IMS) resulted in efficiently managing SE task assignments and product deliveries in a dynamically evolving customer requirements environment. Application of Six Sigma improvement methodologies resulted in the uncovering of root causes of errors in wiring interconnectivity drawings, pod manufacturing processes, and avionics requirements specifications. Utilizing the draft NAVAIR SE guideline handbook and the ANSI/EIA-632 standard: Processes for Engineering a System, a systems engineering tailored process approach was adopted for the accelerated SHARP EMD prgram. Tailoring SE processes in this accelerated product delivery environment provided unique opportunities to be technically creative in the establishment of a product performance baseline. This paper provides an historical overview of the systems engineering activities spanning the prototype phase through the EMD SHARP program phase, the performance requirement capture activities and refinement process challenges, and what SE process improvements can be applied to future SHARP-like programs adopting a compressed, evolutionary spiral development acquisition paradigm.
Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions are evolving to a higher level of sophistication and mission criticality. The current vision is to have an integrated battlefield (theater) with assets networked together for seamless access to real time information to support mission planning, operations and assessment. This paradigm shift has been named network-centric warfare. Recent technological advances in sensor performance have created a bottleneck in the envisioned network-centric architecture. Sensors operating at higher data rates and generating more imagery data can exceed available data link bandwidth. And as the Network-centric warfare concept evolves, there will emerge requirements for information flowing bi-directionally across the airborne portion of the network, compounding the problem of transferring sensor images.
Airborne Solid State Storage (Recording) Systems are increasingly used to relieve the bottleneck and mismatch between the airborne sensors and the mission planners, analysts and shooters. These Solid State Recorders (SSRs) provide the bandwidth to absorb the unprocessed imagery outputs of the full array of airborne sensors. This paper will elaborate upon the benefits of exploiting Solid State Recorders in support of the airborne portion of the ISR mission.